Nurturing Incubations

One of the things that I think about often is how do I cultivate a culture in my team that encourages, empowers and rewards/recognizes incubation efforts.  Any technology innovation in its infancy, or early stage R&D work for something that is not necessarily well-defined is what I loosely call an incubation.  It is not always the case that incubation efforts are long-lead innovations.  Sometimes, they can be a quick turn of the dial.


I personally do not believe that everyone has the right mindset, passion, discipline and capability to be involved in incubation all the time, context switching from day to day business goals.  Having the right people involved in the incubation, giving them the right environment so that the ideas can be nurtured and not placing undue constraints on the team are all critical factors to provide a nurturing environment.


As a development organization, it is important to make sure that a portion of the team’s bandwidth is allocated for incubation or “long-lead” innovation which we expect to take to market in a subsequent product cycle.  This means that a business has to plan resource allocation in the following 3 buckets


·         Making current customers successful (servicing)

·         Working on the next version of the product

·         Incubation


Resourcing incubation has to be a part of planning – otherwise the natural tendency is to suck up all the resources for the critical activity of the day. 


There have been a lot of successful incubations in Developer Division and I will also be the first to tell you that there have been some that haven’t been successful.  The nature of incubations is that.  If somebody tells me they have a 100% success rate in incubations, then I say they are not doing enough incubations.


Other business leaders and companies have different philosophies on how to model incubations.  This is simply what I have found to be most effective for my organization.  However, innovation and agility need to go hand-in-hand and having a culture of encouraging and empowering people to do incubations is a “must” for continuous, ongoing innovation for any business.




Comments (9)

  1. Robert says:

    Where do you slate Popfly?

  2. Somasegar says:

    Hi Robert,

    When we started work on Popfly more than a year ago, it was absolutely an incubation that we wanted to do to help people build experiences on the web easily.


  3. Vlad Zvorak says:

    This is the most boring blog I have ever seen.

  4. Head honcho of the Developer Division has a blog about Incubation projects. Personally speaking, this

  5. Mark Gordon says:

    "Making current customers successful (servicing)" . . .

    You have got to be joking me ….  you kill VFP the only real data centric dev tool MSFT has and leave us with VS 2008 DOTBLOAT that does not even support native 2 way data binding and the designers do not follow N-TIER design standards (does code behind sound familiar) and let’s not forget the missing debugger in SQL Server…. If this is how you make us successful please stop!

    Here is a thought quit spending time and money on new stuff and instead get the products you currently have working… This will allow us to do our jobs and be successful !!!! That last thing we need are more half finished development tools AND programming paradigms ….

    Can you say MVC AND EDM?

    Better yet incorporate the Foxpro Language into Visual Studio 2008 so we can build middle tier components with a true data centric language ….

    You really want to service your customer’s —  start with the Visual FoxPro community !

  6. Mark Gordon says:

    You know you guy at MSFT really careless about your customers. Do you have idea how many people spent thousands of dollars to learn VB6 and FoxPro or the companies that trained their IT staff on these tools. More importantly small and medium size companies AND vertical market businesses that run VB and FoxPro applications that, despite MSFT claims, are basically stuck on Windows XP. (Which is not a bad thing given what a terrible OS vista is) ….  

    You kicked both developer communities and their clients to the curb forcing us into Visual studio with no clear migration path…. The ironic part is Visual studio is a mess of a product that defines the term bloat ware!  But you have time to worry about stuff like popfly …. I really which you would get in touch with what is going on in the field instead of just listening to the MSFT cheerleadering squad and your large corporate accounts.

  7. I have blogged in the past on my views around innovation , and the effort that needs to go into such

  8. Publicación del inglés original : Jueves, 23 de octubre de 2008 14:43 PST por Somasegar Anteriormente

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